How to carry over standard budget amounts to the next month?

I've just started using YNAB, and am wondering, if I want to budget say $500 for groceries each month, how can I make that number (and all my other standard budget #s) automatically appear in the budget when the month flips?  Or do I need to fill out a budget each month? 

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  • A budget template to do what you want has been a requested feature for about a decade now.  With the web based program, we got goals.  You can use a goal of Budget $X Per Month for a category to put $500 in groceries, $100 in Dining, etc. for all the categories that you have such fixed amounts for.  I do this to populate my entire budget each month, but this does have a couple of drawbacks that you need to be aware of.

    First, because I use goals to create a budget template as a starting point for adjustment, I cannot use goals for any other purpose.  For example, if I set a goal for my Unexpected Expenses category to get to a balance of $4000, and I do a single click on "Underfunded" to populate my budget template, YNAB will faithfully put my amounts in every category (like your $500 for Groceries) but also automatically increase Unexpected Expenses to $4000.  So if I use goals of Budget $X per month as a template, I need to be able to manage any other goals I have for categories manually without program support.  I'm fine with that, but it could be a show-stopper for some people.

    Second, I when I adjust my budget template each month, some categories get trimmed to put money in other categories.  Because I used goals to populate the template, YNAB then thinks the categories I trimmed are underfunded and turns them angry orange to tell me I need to budget more money.  That's annoying, though it is much less annoying since I installed the Toolkit and had it turn underfunded categories from angry orange to a more muted blue.

    If either of these drawbacks is a show stopper for using goals as a complete budget template, you're back to filling out a budget each month or seeking a different solution.

     YNAB provides an article discussing using goals of different types to create a budget template:

    This article does a different type of template than I use.  As I understand the article, it contemplates the user budgeting piecemeal as income comes in several times a month and using the goal features to keep track of where he is in the budget process.  Take a look at that article, and see if it makes sense for how you want to budget.

    You can also quick budget things like same amount budgeted last month, or amount spent last month.  You might want to play with those a bit and see if they suit your needs.  The fairly minor drawback of this is that if the same method of quick budgeting is not what you need for every category, you're doing this category by category.  That still might be preferable to simply typing numbers for every category; you just have to look at your own budget to find the best balance between amount of clicks/keystrokes and getting the budget results you want.

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  • Hi Steel Blue Tape !

    Patzer mentions the Quick Budget feature, which allows you to quickly budget the amounts 'Budgeted Last Month', 'Spent Last Month' and others. That's one step short of automatic but it should take a bit of time out of the equation! :)

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